Contingent Contemplation: Summer? No thank you.

Hey all,

One thing I’ve realized since growing up is my view on summer. Let me start with what summer used to be:

Summer was one thing I always looked forward to. Once I returned to school in September, I started a mental countdown towards summer in my head. What would I be doing once it gets here? Basically what I’ve always done since the first summer vacation I can remember: do nothing.

There’s something amazing about being gluttonous, filling up on food, and mindlessly spending all your time watching TV or gaming the days away. It just felt right to not do anything.

Here’s my problem: I’m no longer happy with doing nothing.

opening in trees

My dilemma since January when I returned to school after working for two school terms was wondering what I would do this summer. I applied for a few jobs I was interested in, but I didn’t land a position. Then there was the idea of starting my own project, or developing an idea for the summer. But that seems so un-concrete and not satisfying because I did not know where that will lead. I guess it’d also help if I had an amazing idea I could pursue, but right now, I don’t.

Then I thought about traveling. Broadening my horizons, and getting inspired through learning new cultures. Quickly another roadblock came before me: I didn’t have money for travelling.

I liked last summer when I knew I was working on multiple projects at TrojanOne. I liked the summer before, when I spent it interning in Hong Kong, allowing me to travel and work. What in the world am I going to do with the four month break ahead of me?

It’s weird how something that I used to see as paradise now looks haunting and ominous to me. I want more experience, and I want to do something productive with my time. I want to throw my heart and soul into something for the next four months. I WANT TO DO SOMETHING!

I guess we’ll see where I end up?

– Karen

Reading break begins!

Hey all,

One week off. This is probably what every university student looks forward to once the Winter school term starts. Sadly, most of my profs decided to put a bunch of midterms and projects due for when we get back on the week of the 23rd. No worries. I guess I’ll just have to juggle studying and taking a break. In terms of reading, am I doing any actual reading? Not much academically, though I eventually will have to. But I have been consuming a lot of graphic novels– mainly due to me taking a graphic novel writing class at UBC. I had to take it for my creative writing minor, and I originally thought we’d only have to do the “written” parts of the graphic novel. Turns out we’re telling stories through pictures. That does not bode well for my D+ in visual art that I got back in high school. comics-lady-killer Anyway, I’m more than halfway through Watchmen and I’ve been reading it for maybe two days during my spare time. I also picked up this visually amazing graphic novel called Pretty Deadly. It revolves around the daughter of death. How is that not cool? I started reading Lady Killer, and am dying to get my hands on a physical copy of the first issue. Sadly, all the copies I see for sale online are super expensive (and everywhere else is sold out). It’s a very interesting comic. Self described as “Betty Draper meets Hannibal!”

I’m actually currently in Whistler right now and will do a separate blog post for that later on! Snow’s disappointing this year, but having some time away from Vancouver withe the boyfriend is not!

– Karen

Marketing Post #2: People Are Dying, It’s Time for Shopping!

Many companies know that in order to have successfully promote your products, you need to seize opportunities. So when Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc across the US, American Apparel leapt at the opportunity and chose to use one of the sure-fire channels of communication to reach their customers: the internet.

What exactly was American Apparel trying to communicate across? No, it had nothing to do with using the disaster to boost their image by urging people to donate to a relief fund, as many other companies jumped to do. Instead, they offered those who were stuck at home and ‘bored’ to discount codes for their online website.

The ad was met with criticism, and outrage from the public, especially when the death toll was climbing higher every hour during the hurricane. However, not only did American Apparel not apologize for their campaign, they went on to explain that it is “expensive to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel,” so they were trying to make up for lost revenue.

They may have nailed it by getting an ad campaign up as soon as possible, seizing the situational opportunities of the hurricane, but in hindsight, did they really believe no one was going to get offended? The identified their target audience as those who were forced to stay home for safety reasons, but overlooked the fact that the US as a whole was panicking.

Another company who tried to make use of situational opportunities includes GAP. They chose to make a short tweet offering their concern for victims, but quickly moved on to promoting themselves not unlike what American Apparel did. However, they quickly tweeted an clarification to atone for their actions, which is more than can be said for in American Apparel’s case.

All the same, something can definitely be learned here. Sure, it is important to make use of any opportunities that come your way, but from what direction should you approach it?

Keep On Trooping!

Hey y’all!

It has been a while, but I think I finally found time to post! (Well, squeeze time out anyway.) I cannot believe there is only one more week left of my first-year university life! Although I am looking forward to getting a break from school, I realize that the last week of school means projects and essays are now due, not to mention finals are just right around the corner.

Throughout the last week, I really challenged myself to grab at opportunities. Aside from trying to manage my homework (Chinese oral exam script writing, English final essay draft, Political Science final essay just to name a few), I also applied for clubs and positions within Sauder. I spent much of my first year at university trying to find my interest and learning how to handle the university lifestyle. I went in believing I could easily juggle school, my social life and my family life. Then reality punches me in the face and tells me that it is going to be a lot harder than I thought. Needless to say, I spent my first year finding myself and concentrating on school…meaning I was not as involved as I thought I was going to be. I joined two clubs within my commerce faculty, and went to events for both. I really regret not going to any of the big conferences, so that is definitely on my bucket list for next year. But I feel just going to events was not enough. You need to find something you are interested in and then actually get involved.

I spend a good portion of my first term wondering what I was doing in business school. Thankfully, I asked around and explored some of the available majors. I think it is safe to say that marketing is what I want to concentrate on later on. It is not as rigid as accounting or finance, allowing your creativity and personal thoughts to come into play. I look forward to actually taking marketing courses next year, since year one was really a pre-commerce year. You only get a really brief overview of the world of commerce. I cannot wait for next year! Having said that, I am still plenty nervous because we are required to take more (and harder) courses. Oh well, guess only time will tell how well I deal with that.

So back to grabbing opportunities. This Tuesday, I returned home after my classes ended and I received a call later on at night. I swear, my heart stopped and my blood froze when I picked up the call and realized what it was about. Apparently I was scheduled for an interview on that day. Wonderful. I have no idea how that happened, but my name was clearly on the Google Doc. where everyone signed up for an interview slot, but I am 100% sure I did not sign up for my time slot. I was not even aware sign ups were available. Luckily, I asked if there was any way for me to reschedule and they agreed to let me come in the next day at 7 p.m.

I think if this interview was for some other position, I would not have minded as much that I had already left a bad impression on my interviewers. However, I really wanted this position. I was interviewing for the position of editor-in-chief of the Cavalier, Sauder’s very own newspaper. Those of you who know me will know that I love writing. And reading. Within Sauder, this position seemed like the perfect way for me to get involved with something I loved! Sure, my chances were slim, but I still wanted to know that I actually tried. I was disappointed with what had happened, but I knew I still had my chance at my actual interview.

The next school day was the longest one ever. I felt butterflies in my stomach more than once. It honestly felt like it was butterfly migration season, and their final destination was my stomach. I was a bunch of nerves as I headed over to my interview. The interview itself? I stuttered, I stumbled over questions and I think my nervousness showed. I was pretty disappointed because I have been to several interviews for various positions this year and have been rejected in all of them. I was at the low point where I believe I probably would never get a place anywhere. I walked out feeling horrible. I sat at the student lounge for a while with some of friends, just being sad.

What happened next was amazing. Riley, one of my interviewers and the current editor-in-chief of the Cavalier, came out and started talking to some of my friends. I think I was the last interviewee of the day and all the interviewers were finally done with their long day. I was kind of huddled in a corner, too depressed to do anything. However, I did eventually end up walking over to him because I wanted to question why he decided to change the Cavalier so much during his time as editor. He answered me and I was listening, but I guess I was not paying as much attention as I thought I was. I heard one of my friends say “She totally did not hear him” and someone else say “Can’t believe she didn’t catch that…”. This all made me pause and go “Wait, what?” Then Riley goes “Uhh, yeah, so you got the position. Congratulations, you’re the new co-editor in chief of the Cavalier.”

This is kind of embarrassing, but I cried. I was so surprised, and happy and relieved—basically a whole bunch of positive emotions just rushing out. I think that was the happiest I have felt for a very long time. Sure, this will add to my workload next year, since I will be responsible for making sure the monthly issues come out on time, but HECK, it is something I would gladly do!

I think my takeaway from this experience is to never stop trying. Again, I was rejected numerous times throughout the year, but hey, that is how it is with everyone. At times you may end up getting something on your first try, but most of the time, you will have to try again and again. Just do not give up and keep on trooping!

I have my Frosh Leader interview tomorrow and am definitely feeling the nervousness I feel before every interview! At the same time, I am still pretty excited! To end this off, I hope my little story motivated some of you guys and pushes you to go out and try your luck! I am also very glad I got a chance to post again!

Till next time!

-Karen

P.s I think you should all check out the Cavalier. Especially when I start editing 🙂

Releasing my inner geek!

Just kidding, I do not think I am that big a geek. But I have my moments.

Anyway, my friends and I recently ordered a bunch of stuff from thinkgeek.com! I was super excited when the package arrived this morning because I have been wanting to get ahold of my…. LIGHTSABER CHOPSTICKS! I have been wanting these forever (well, a while anyway) but it took me a while to find them. I also got a lightsaber laser pointer, because you never know when that may come in handy.
It annoys me how my friend got a watch on the site for like $15 and my chopsticks were $13. But oh well! I will feel like Jedi while I eat dinner every night! Another complaint? Shipping fees to Canada. It always costs so dang much.

Extreme monkey-powered awesomeness enclosed 🙂

Goodies ^.^

Lightsaber chopsticks!!!!!!

Since we are on the topic, HBO released another Game of Thrones teaser! Cannot wait! My friends and I were thinking of doing a themed night for the premier! 🙂 I am currently on the fourth book and I am so slow… One of my new year’s resolutions was to stop feeling so guilty every time I pick up a novel instead of a textbook, and I have been doing pretty well. But it is still very hard to squeeze out time for reading. 😦 It also does not help that A Feast for Crows lack a lot of the characters I am used to from the previous books. But then again we get to see what is going on in Sunspear!

Moving on to a slightly less cheery note….
So the past few weeks has been pretty good work load wise, but I am NOT looking forward to the next two-three weeks. I am swamped with midterms, term papers and presentations! I found out I will be having my macro economics midterm, Chinese midterm and an in-class english essay all one the same day. Wonderful. But I have to say, this is already significantly better than last term. If only I have the self control and motivation to actually get my butt to work and start doing everything now I know my life will be a lot better off when the time comes. Sadly, I work best under pressure and although I am expecting stress, it just is not close enough yet to kick me into hyper work mode! I got to look into that and find ways to see how I can get over that whole only-working-under-pressure thing.

Ending this post off, has anyone SEEN the weather in Vancouver? It is beautiful! Not too cold, not too hot– in other words, perfect! So excited for spring!

-Karen